Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The conversion of a 'dispensational pre-millenialist' A what? Wha'dat? And does it matter? The chronology of why and how it happened. - 7/31/2011

(I wrote this to my email list back in 2011 - it will be filed in the CAP Lessons -Please excuse the fact that most of the book direct links are out of date, but the books should still be available. - CL)

Howdy folks,

I recall the response of a man in answer to the news of a world event: “I guess it’s time for Christ to return!”
That response was from me – in 1981. The comment was somewhat in jest, but not totally. When the return didn’t occur, no problem, I just watched for the next ‘event.’

Now don’t get me wrong, I was not running around and yelling ‘The end is near!’, but it was usually in the back of my mind as something to watch for. Why?
Because that was what was taught in my church, so I believed it and behaved accordingly as a spectator to world events. Terms like anti-Christ, rapture, Armageddon, end-times, etc. were commonly used and are used to this day in many or most Christian circles. But is it biblical?

The issue really didn’t reach critical mass with me until about 5 years ago when I read a book on a religious subject which was essentially written from a totally literal interpretive view of the Bible. Whatever the English language version stated, that is what the author concluded. Interestingly, the author commented that he purposely omitted the differences between the pre-millennial, a-millennial and postmillennial views. He didn’t want the controversy obviously and I don’t blame him. Frankly, at that time I couldn’t explain any of them coherently. So I started my own research to see just what this ‘millennialism’ business was all about.

Much of the disagreement between the three views involves the interpretation of the Book of Revelation. So I started from there. It was about that time that I became acquainted with American Vision, a publisher of new and historic Christian, as well as American, literature.

One of the first books I read was: Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church
Then I read Hank Hanegraaff’s “The Apocalypse Code”:
Incidentally, at this time I also was introduced to a novel co-written by HH: The Last Disciple (9780842384384): Hank Hanegraaff, Sigmund Brouwer: Books.  It was an intriguing read of the first century life of early Christians in Rome. I was so interested that I also read the sequel: The Last Sacrifice (9780842384421): Hank Hanegraaff, Sigmund Brouwer: Books

The number of books on the subject I have read is now approaching 20. This is not to impress you, but to show that research takes time, especially if you’re a slow reader like I am. Furthermore, these books are heavily footnoted and cross-referenced to the Bible and other authors. All of that takes time to follow up.

After 5 years and ongoing, I am now firmly convinced that the postmillennialists have the best argument biblically, and I thought I understood the Bible pretty well prior to this study. The insights from Bible commentators over the centuries of Christianity are usually not taught today, even in seminaries. Often, the latest fad in theology becomes mainstream and is accepted by and large by clergy and laity alike. How does that measure up to the biblical admonition to ‘prove all things and hold on to the good’?
In connection with that, one of the best books I read was:  Biblical Logic: In Theory & Practice (Hardback)   How about this quote from it: “Logic is the systematic study and practice of discerning and telling the truth.” Measures up pretty well with ‘prove all things’, doesn’t it?

A key book was Matthew 24 Fulfilled written by a Baptist pastor who was a former dispensational pre-millie, very well researched and convincing.

Currently I am deep into and almost finished with The Days of Vengeance, an exposition on Revelation. It is the most complete explanation (verse by verse) of the book I have ever seen. The bibliography lists over 200 entries, including historical writings from Christian and secular sources. The author includes writings not only from current Christian commentaries, but from all of the Christian fathers going back to the first and second centuries. The insights provided from the language and cultural idioms are invaluable aids in understanding Revelation. The apostle John’s letter is without question the most closely linked New Testament book with the Old Testament. If we miss the fact that this letter was written by  John, a Jew,  to first century Christians (mostly Jews) using symbolic terminology of the OT, to warn them of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and encourage them to stay the course as they were severely persecuted by both Rome and the Jews, we miss the whole point of the letter. It is not some mysterious prophecy code message to us in what we consider to be ‘end times’. That is all I will say about it. You must do your own research.

So why is this important?

If you are 100% committed to advancing the kingdom of God and not distracted by prophetic issues, which is almost impossible, it might not be that important. If, however, you are expecting Christ to return any moment because the world is going to hell in a hand basket, you are most likely totally misunderstanding Matt 24 and Revelation. How do I know? Been there-done that! It is NOT biblical, no matter what any prophecy writer says.

Too many Christians are totally ineffective as disciples because they don’t understand who we are and what our responsibilities are. Our adversary has apparently convinced us that we are poor little saps who can’t do anything but just wait. We represent the Lord of ALL! He didn’t put us here to fail.

So, if you are interested in pursuing this yourself, I have some suggestions.

If you have some questions as to why this is important, you might read this article first: Life and Death and the Last Days, or Why Eschatology Matters
For a quick overview of the various millennial doctrines, you might read this: The Postmillennial View — The Four Keys to the Millennium
A good, easy to read book on Revelation: The Book of Revelation Made Easy

Keep in mind that this information is not about basic orthodox Christian beliefs. Most of us all believe that Jesus is the son of God and only through his blood sacrifice do we have eternal life. The problem comes in when we misunderstand the gospel message about what our role is in the advancement of the kingdom of God. The original American founders from the 1600’s to the late 1700’s had no misunderstanding of their mission. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that the ideas of divorcing God from government started and now seems to be the prevailing wisdom – all about prophecy and personal salvation only. Coincidentally (maybe on purpose), the Marxist/socialist/progressive movements started about the same time. Remember, Paul warned his audience to watch out for Satan’s ministers appearing as angels of light. What better way to neuter the work of God than from inside the church?

I have also listed the entire list of books that I remember reading for your reference below. If you have the inclination to pursue this study, I can just about guarantee you that it is a fascinating journey. May God bless.